Union Leader Correspondent
Camden, 50, a well-known French teacher at Londonderry High School, died Feb. 13 of heart failure at her Londonderry home.
In addition to her work in the school’s foreign language department, Camden served as a staff adviser and former coach for the school’s equestrian team. She enjoyed sharing tales of her beloved horse, Jaguar, with her students.
She held degrees from Keene State College, Bowling Green State University and Université Laval in Quebec, Canada. She had been finalizing her doctoral dissertation at University of Louisiana at Lafayette at the time of her death, according to school officials.“This news has obviously had a significant impact on our staff,” Principal Jason Parent wrote in a letter sent to notify parents of Camden’s death on Monday morning.
Parent, along with members of the school’s crisis team and guidance department, met with staff members and Camden’s students later that day, and said plans are in the works to prepare words of encouragement for teachers to share with their students as they cope with unexpected tragedy.
“The councilors will be available all this week for students and staff members,” Parent said.
As the high school prepares to finish the academic year minus one irreplaceable teacher, Parent said former LHS French teacher Sarah Young would step in to temporarily teach Camden’s class after students return from February vacation.
Camden joined the high school staff in August 2007 and taught all levels of French courses, including advanced placement.
“She was so friendly and well-liked,” Parent said Tuesday night. “She was always pleasant to everyone. It’s been a really rough couple of days.” A cardboard Eiffel Tower sits in a corner of Camden’s former classroom, beckoning students and friends to write and share their personal memories of one special French teacher.
“For some kids, this is the first time they’ve dealt with a death,” Parent noted. “And our students really wanted to do something special to honor her and pay their respects.”
A moment of silence was held in Camden’s honor at the start of Tuesday night’s School Board meeting. Others will have the chance to post their condolences via a memorial Facebook page currently in the works.
“She was just so dedicated to her students,” Curriculum Coordinator Kim Lindley-Soucy said. “She found French fun and exciting, and this caught on in the classroom.”
German teacher Susan Trammell said she’d miss the fellow foreign-language teacher who inspired her “with her great sense of humor and enthusiasm for life.”
“Carol’s love of animals spoke to many of our students and echoed their own enthusiasm for riding and the outdoors,” Trammel wrote on Camden’s online obituary page. “I am grateful for the time she was with us.”
School Board member John Robinson agreed.
“She was a great member of the LHS family and will be missed,” Robinson said. “To parents and students who might be listening, the entire town feels and shares your loss. We’re a community and will get through this like we have many other things in past.”
Calling hours for Camden will take place on Friday, Feb. 18, from 3 to 5 p.m. at Peabody Funeral Home in Londonderry, with a memorial service to immediately follow.